ABC News' Sunlen Miller reports:
President Obama made a surprise visit to an elementary school today in Alexandria, Virginia to read his newly published children’s book, and the holiday classic “The Night before Christmas” to children.
But in a room with 90 second graders, naturally some more interesting moments would ensue, such as the president telling the children, sitting cross-legged on the floor of the library around him, that even he has to scoop his dog’s poop.
“Sometimes I run around with Bo at night,” Obama told the children, “although sometimes I have to scoop up his poop because I don’t just want to leave it on the lawn.”
The second graders didn’t respond too favorably to that idea.
“If you guys have a dog, you've got to walk your dog, too. And clean up after him,” the presidential pooper-scooper added.
While reading the book “The Night before Christmas” the president remarked that one of illustrations of a snow-covered house looked like Washington, DC right now, the nation’s capital now covered in light snow. And then there was the inevitable, yet toned-down from years past , dig at the DC school system’s penchant for shutting down schools even with just a little snow, that followed.
“I’m surprised you guys are in school because a lot of time in Washington people don’t go to school when there’s even an inch of snow,” Obama said with a wide smile, knowing he was skating on some thin ice. You may recall that just weeks after his inauguration Mr. Obama quipped that when it comes to weather, “folks in Washington don’t seem to be able to handle things,” joking that “We are going to have to apply some toughness to this town.”
The purpose of the visit today was to read his new book , “Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters,” to the children, published just this November.
“My girls are getting older now so they don’t always let me read to them. So I want to borrow you guys and read to you,” Obama said, “I wrote this book to my daughters.”
After reading, the president left a signed copy of his book to the library and spoke briefly about the meaning of Christmas to him – making sure you’re “not just getting something from somebody,” but that “you’re also giving back,” he said.
“One of the things about Christmas, obviously it’s presents and stockings full and spending time with your family and eating good stuff, but part of the Christmas spirit is also making sure that we are kind to each other and we are thinking about people who aren’t as lucky as we are.”
The president said that even though they are having a lot of fun during the holidays, he wants to make sure they are thinking about “how can you guys be nicer to each other and think about people who have less than you.”
Obama says there are a lot of kids out there who may not get a lot of presents because, “their parents don’t have a lot of money,” and that many people are away from their families fighting overseas right now. The elementary school is filled willed with children from military families, very near Fort Myer, a US Army Post.
“So they can’t be home for Christmas or the holidays so I hope you guys think about them too,” Obama said.